is an explorer - almost a scientist - looking into the world of energies and not of things.
Starting with the spirit culture and landscapes of his
homeland Nepal, he
has moved into modern expressions of what is within and, lately, into the heart of creative energy.
very tangible, textured, exquisite and astonishing canvases are windows into primordial worlds and the mystery of how nothing becomes something.
art is a pleasure.
invites you in to the wonderful world of his
intuitions and perceptions so that you can see for yourself.
Who knows what he
will do next? (10 June 2010)
GOVINDA AZAD: CLOUD CONSCIOUSNESS, CONSCIENCE AND FREEDOM
The universality of this experience was brought home to me when I first received an email from Govinda Azad
in 2007 expressing his
interest in an article I had written on the cloud as a symbol, derived from my doctoral research and my painting.
I was amazed to see someone whose ideas and work were so similar to mine from across the world!
I had been painting and researching the cloud for years and I was thrilled to learn that Govinda
had concepts identical to my interest in the cloud as an important spiritual symbol.
travels through India, Bangladesh and Germany confirmed his
belief that the power of the cloud was a power for world peace and mutual understanding.
further study in London for his
MA in painting developed both his
scholarship and his
creativity in the use of this imagery in his
Born in Nepal, he began working with the cloud as a symbol for peace since 1999 with the slogan "The 21st Century is the Century of Art and Peace.
early work explored this through skilled realistic imagery depicting clouds.
was fascinated with landscapes and painted over 300 multiple miniature cloud paintings, non-stop, in 2006, before going to UK.
In London his
teachers asked him why he
painted clouds, and he
replied that he
believed the cloud was a "spiritual power of nature.
paintings were not attempts at realism but from his
heart, to express his
was challenged to provide intellectual reasons for what he
did, which at first was difficult for him since he
emerged from a different paradigm . . . one did not need to rationalize creativity and feelings.
interim MA exhibit at The Nunnery Art Gallery
in London, March, 2008, revealed Govinda's sophisticated merger of conceptual ideas in artwork that transcended appearances, and pushed his
work to another level.
artwork in 2006 (and also a play he
wrote) examined the notion of a wall, without windows or doors.
sees that we are trapped inside walls by the religious perspectives of traditional religions.
It is the cloud that exists beyond and can carry us outside these walls.
work explores our dreams and hopes beyond the difficult realities of everyday lives.
Through the use of exciting contrasts of light and dark, he
evokes light as a metaphor for life and enlightenment.
broad brushstrokes and rhythmic compositions move the viewer into a vortex that melts convention and confinement.
fear that humanity in the 21st century is not getting better, but worse in many respects, he
believes the artist's struggle and message is pivotal for survival.
laments that everything is about business and profits in politics, religion and the artworld.
observes that religion should free us from this crude materialism, but it often does not.
realizes that there are only two things on the planet that can escape the 360° pull of gravity and they are clouds, and the spirit.
installation "Spiritual Gravity: Beyond the 360°" explored this understanding, and provided the viewer with a visual synthesis that incorporated their own image into cloud-like abstract forms on multi-layered materials.
MA thesis examined the cloud in the art of Constable, JMW Turner and Casper Friedrick, discussing their relationship to the spiritual and the aesthetic of the sublime.
This power of cloud imagery was also noted in the work of some contemporary artists.
Perhaps England's humid island climate elicited an interest in the cloud in artists as Constable and Turner.
, coming from Nepal high in the Himalayas, he
too possesses a great sensitivity to the extraordinary shapes, textures and colors of clouds that he
then masterfully depicts in his
Govinda Sah Azad
can be described as an artist in a great hurry to spread the message of peace, love and understanding through his
energy and capacity for endurance give him a distinct edge.
Very few recognize that this artist's vision is a deeply spiritual one.
was the first Nepali to declare the 21st century as 'the Century for Art and Peace'.
This declaration or vision has been the driving force behind Govinda's artistic and spiritual journey.
It is important to acknowledge that this artist has come a long way from Rajbiraj, Saptari.
transformation from a signboard painter in India to a student of Fine Arts has been a remarkable personal story of determination and discipline.
transition from a signboard painter in Rajbiraj, Saptari to an art student Kathmandu could not have been easy.
During this period as a struggling art student and artist, Govinda
took on several commercial commissions to survive.
At a time when the nation was reeling through a bloody civil war, he
also devoted his
energies to spreading the message of peace through his
As a student at the Lalitkala, Govinda embarked upon a grueling bicycle tour of twenty-three districts in Nepal in 1999.
The Maoist uprising did not deter him.
energy and exuberance seem to have given him the ability to face all odds.
While traveling from Mechi to Mahakali, his
desire to spread the message of peace came into fruition and Govinda
was able to interact with children in the various districts and teach art in local schools along the way.
In 2002, he
also embarked upon an ambitious tour of South Asia and held exhibitions in India and Bangladesh.
In 2005, he
traveled to Germany and Holland and exhibited his
paintings based on peace.
In between his
travels and academic pursuits, Govinda
has also held twenty-four solo exhibitions of his
has also participated in several art camps and workshops and group exhibitions.
It is interesting to note that Govinda Dongol, senior artist and campus Chief once described Govinda Sah
'Azad' as "Lion Heart"
Though the message of peace has dominated Govinda's
paintings each exhibition of the Artist's work has been radically different in style and expression.
In June 2006, Govinda Azad
held a solo exhibition of his
paintings at the Siddhartha Art Gallery
This exhibition titled 'Pillars of Hope', was a celebration of Nepali culture and documented the artist's rapturous reaction to the art and architecture of the valley.
Carved pillars and windows, stone water spouts, Newari women in their traditional hand woven haku pataasi saris, ancient ritual masks were the recurring motifs in the canvases of an artist who had journeyed from the Mithila realm to pursue Fine Arts at Lalit Kala Academy
painted the tangible living culture of the valley, a curious stillness seems to dominate these works and is in direct contrast to the artist's own restless energy.
In 2006, Govinda traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh to pursue an MFA in painting at 2006.
A year later he attended the Wimbledon School of Art in the UK to received his second MFA in painting.
The paintings in this exhibition constitute the body of work that the artist created in the UK and is a total departure from his
earlier representational and
Based on cloud formations, Govinda
gaze to the heavens to mirror the storm in his
own heart and to understand how the great masters like Turner, Constable and Casper Friedrick portrayed the tumultuous skies in their own paintings.
Though many of the works in the cloud series have already been sold in the UK, Govinda's
paintings compel us to rejoice in the artist's new found freedom.
And when artist Govinda Sah Azad portrayed the clouds in his paintings, he depicted them in an even more abstract form - as a mysterious subject.
Except for a couple of semi-abstract paintings of The Moon series almost all the paintings of Azad
Merely two colours constitute his
canvases where these colours are in stark contrast; one being rather bright while the other dim, if not dark.
Though dark colours like black chiefly dominate his
paintings, bright colour emerges from few parts of the paintings.
The dark part of his
painting represents the gloomy side of life while the emergence of bright light symbolises hope.
The bright light is the essence of his
Besides black and white colours, yellow is another colour preferred by the artist to make the paintings lively.
Yellow colour depicts the transitional phase on the canvases.
Through the painting titled